New Bike Day
When I was a kid I used to think Xmas was the coolest day of the year. Who didn’t?
Now, as an adult, and adult might be an understatement, I have come to appreciate that the coolest the day of the year is the one where I get to ride my New Bike!
At least for the last 13 years that I have been a pro, New Bike Day, has been the most excellent, sweetest, most superlative day of the year. This is the one day where being a pro racer really pays (okay, one of the many).
New Bike Day is not only the most important day of the calendar year, it’s also the first day of the season in a hedonistic pagan sort of way. New Bike Day is the Cherry trees blossoming along the Potomac, it’s the first bat cracking a line drive in Tampa, it’s the rebirth of my cycling self.
Marla's first day on a New Bike
I usually get my New Bike just before the Sea Otter and I ride it with the little antennas from the molds still dangling from the tires’ knobbies. I ride it so fresh that the saddle tilt is just a tad off, and the stack height not where I’ll like it. I ride it with the disc brakes squeaky and I ride it with grips whose contours do not line up with my callouses. But, I ride it anyway… and I love it.
This year was different. Oh, I got my New Bike alright. And I rode it. But it wasn’t me riding it around. So it barely even got dirty at the Sea Otter which normally jump starts the mountain bike racing season.
For valid medical reasons, my uber-maternal self wasn’t supposed to ride trails. Or at least Really ride Real trails. All I could do was tool around on some flat fire roads, or maybe roll along some really buff singletrack if there was no mud, or roots, or loose gravel.
So, my slick new carbon fiber/aluminum Orbea hung upside down suspended in animation in my bike shed, the side knobs still factory fresh until just this weekend. I was finally able to breathe some life into its cold hard frame. I achieved my goal of wearing some of those side knobs down. It was just an hour on some technical trails in the park here in town, but it was long enough to feel better than any Christmas morning I’ve ever had.
I didn’t even notice if the saddle needed some adjustment, because I stood on my pedals from beginning to end. Hours upon hours on an elliptical trainer can do that for you. I felt strong and light… finally. I could breathe deep and long for the first time in nine months.
It finally felt like New Bike Day had arrived.
Although it’ll take a couple more rides before I can settle the saddle issues…